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Friday Favorite: Guineas

June 27th, 2014

I have a small flock of guinea fowl roaming about the garden.  The chickens went behind an electric fence a few weeks ago when they started getting into the main edible garden.  The guineas are allowed to roam free because they aren’t as destructive as chickens.  I especially love them because they eat insects and not the plants themselves. They don’t scratch much at all, unlike chickens which will make giant holes and dig up plants quite easily.
guinea fowl 1 (1)
guinea fowl 1
guinea fowl 2 (1)
guinea fowl 2
guinea fowl 3 (1)
guinea fowl 4
A few weeks ago I noticed potato beetles in the potato patch and asparagus beetles in the asparagus. Then I noticed the guineas making daily rounds through them eating up all the bugs they could find. They’ll even peck through the mulch around the asparagus looking for the beetles that try to hide there. They are also making quick work of any cabbage worms they see. I saw defoliation of my cabbage and broccoli, and then I noticed the guineas lurking nearby. When I checked for worms they were gone – perfect!
asparagus beetle
potato beetle
It’s not all peaches and cream with guineas, they can be loud and obnoxious, especially when you have a large group of them. If you want a few for your garden I’d stick to three. If you want a large group you should make sure you have a large area for them to roam. My guineas roam over about 5-7 acres around the house.  My guineas will also eat the occasional strawberry in the back garden, I could easily throw cheesecloth over it to keep them away, but they only eat a few so I don’t mind.  It’s a small price to pay for fantastic insect control in the garden!
guinea fowl 3
Overall, they are great birds to have around if you have a garden. They are also invaluable watch dogs alerting all the other birds and Tara when there are foxes and hawks nearby.

What’s your favorite pest control method?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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